August 25, 2010
Love and Romance, Ads
There is a new breed of online daters out there, ladies, and he’s called a “Fisherman”. What’s a fisherman? A guy who has profiles on several dating sites, says all the right things, has the “right” profile, but ultimately is more interested in getting you to like him than he is in finding a true relationship. The good news? There are ways to spot fisherman before they hook you.
A recent study from Online Schools found that online dating is now a bigger industry than pornography. That is definitely saying something. Online dating — according to the “http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-truth-about-online-dating” Online Schools Infographic — is now worth about $1.04 billion per year with mobile running up to about $550 million. It’s no wonder that some not-so-friendly people are taking up your time.
With so many daters in the online waters, what can you do to protect yourself from men or women who are more into what you are than who you are? Here are our top 3 tips to protect your heart – and your bank account – from online dating scammers.
Everyone lies. Seriously. Chances are the people you’re emailing through online dating sites are lying about at least one thing in their life, from age to marital status. Some lies are even bigger. Approximately 10% of online dating profiles are actually set up by sex offenders, according to the Online Schools report. What are daters lying about? Women lie about their age, weight and build. Men lie most about their age, height and income.
“Christine” began chatting online with “Ben” in March, and things seemed to be going well. He talked about his recent divorce, but didn’t bad-mouth his ex. She talked about relocating to a new city and leaving her friends behind.
“Everything seemed to be going so well, and after we flirted a little in email and IM, we decided to meet, and that is where things got really weird,” said Christine. “He kept getting messages. In the time it took to be seated and order drinks, he’d excused himself seven times to take a message. He didn’t really want to talk to me, and every subject I brought up got a one-word answer. Finally, I asked why he even agreed to meet and he could only shrug his shoulders. He had no idea why he was there.”
In the long run, Christine was lucky. Sure, she was out a few hours of her time, but at least her ‘fisherman’ didn’t get any of her personal information. Now, she is smarter about the men she meets online.
Tip #1: Use your common sense. If you’re interested in a man who says he makes six figures and yet at random times all day long he’s online emailing you – and probably countless others – chances are he doesn’t have that great job he talks about. Ben had all the right answers, and Christine says he was a prompt emailer. If you ask hard questions and your online interest has a pat answer back to you within a few minutes, tread carefully. He may be honest, but he may be scamming you.
Watch for pushy. Pushiness is much easier to spot in person, because we can see the shifty eyes, the sweaty palms or the shifting-foot-to-foot stance of someone who isn’t being 100% honest. Pushiness online is so much more difficult to diagnose because through email and IM you can’t hear a voice, see an expression or read the body language. Instead, you have to watch the language that is used.
“When we were emailing, Ben kept telling me things like ‘I feel like we’ve known each other forever.’ I’ll admit, I was very flattered and I let that color my overall common sense and self-protective nature,” said Christine. “When I should have been paying attention to what he was saying, I was only paying attention to how his words made me feel.”
Tip #2: Watch out for correspondence where daters overuse words like ‘never’ (I’ve never met anyone like you before.) and ‘always’ (I feel like I’ve been waiting for you, always.). If you’ve only talked online, the other person can’t know that he or she has been waiting a lifetime for you. Sure, you’re wonderful, but they can’t know that just yet. Also watch for destination talk. If your online interest wants to take a long trip, pushes you to meet at a particular time or place or is otherwise trying to impose his wants, it’s time to stop chatting online and put him on the ignore list. He might be another fisherman using fun destinations as bait for the hook.
He’s forgetful. Okay, your online interest passed your tests and you’ve decided it really is time to meet Mr. (or Ms.) Wonderful. If he’s a teeny bit late to drinks or dinner, no big deal, but if you’ve gone through the meal and he has no wallet that is a big deal. This is a big sign that the man you’re interested in is only interested in what you bring to the table – particularly the purse at your feet.
It took “Melody” three months to figure out that her online love interest was using her for what she had: a good, paying job and a nice car. “It didn’t happen all at once,” Melody said. “We had been dating for three weeks the first time he ‘forgot’ his wallet. A few weeks later, he needed to borrow my car, because his was in the shop. Before long I was picking him up, I was paying for dinner and movies and Saturdays spent shopping. My friends said I was crazy, but I wanted him to be ‘The One’ so badly that I ignored my better judgment.” Now Melody guards her wallet as closely as she guards her heart.
Tip #3: Men don’t ‘forget’ their wallets on a first date — women either, for that matter. He could have every excuse in the book, but don’t be sucked in. This fisherman just got you to buy his dinner. Cut him off there and consider yourself lucky, because many women are scammed by fisherman for much more than the cost of dinner.
Whether it is a little white lie about their age or a big black lie to get between you and your money, online dating has its share of bad influences. Your best option is to read the profiles carefully, and before any in-person meeting is done, talk to a trusted friend about the man or woman you plan to meet. Your friend’s unbiased opinion may seem harsh or unfair, but chances are, their view is uncluttered; where your view may already be a bit rose-colored.